The E4 Udderbelly, which has become a staple of the Edinburgh Fringe over the last three years, is coming to the South Bank this summer to host an eight week season of comedy, circus, music, magic, theatre and children’s shows, from 27 May to 19 July.

Launching the season, from 27 to 29 May, is American comedienne Joan Rivers with her new show Unplugged and Uncensored. Rivers was last seen in London when her autobiographical play Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress transferred to the Leicester Square Theatre last September after premiering at the Edinburgh Udderbelly (See News, 23 May 2008).

Theatre highlights include a one-off performance of Lemn Sissay's one-man play Why I Don't Hate White People (13 July), new work from physical theatre company The Terrible Infants (8 to 14 June) and three performances of Private Peaceful (10 to 12 July), adapted from the award-winning children's book by Michael Morpurgo.

Other performers billed to take part include comedians David O'Doherty, Clive James, Arthur Smith, Gina Yashere and Jason Byrne, and music and cabaret acts Tom Tom Crew, Beardyman, and La Clique regulars Camille O'Sullivan and Miss Behave.

The Udderbelly will be situated on the Hungerford Car Park between the Royal Festival Hall and Jubilee Gardens, and marks the largest outdoor arts event to be staged around the Southbank Centre since the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall in 2007.

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, who are programming the events as part of the Southbank Centre’s summer season, said: "It's extraordinary to look at and a fantastic venue in which to watch a show ... We hope that the unique atmosphere of Udderbelly and its surrounding Pasture will add to an already thriving Southbank Centre site this summer."

- by Theo Bosanquet